Poet Rena Priest, who was appointed the sixth Washington State Poet Laureate earlier this year, will be in the Methow Valley next month for school residencies and a public reading in Twisp on Oct. 12.
A member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation, Priest is the first Indigenous poet to assume the role of Poet Laureate. Her term will run continue through March 2023. Priest’s literary debut, “Patriarchy Blues,” was honored with the 2018 American Book Award, and her most recent work is “Sublime Subliminal.”
“I am incredibly excited and honored to take on this role,” Priest said in a press release. “I’m fascinated by the way people come together around poetry. I am always delighted by how they gather in quiet rooms and let themselves be drawn in, lit up, and transformed by the words of other people. It’s a powerful way of connecting.”
Priest will focus on two primary goals during her term: celebrating poetry in Washington’s tribal communities, and using poetry to increase appreciation of the natural world and the threats facing it.
In addition to winning the American Book Award, Priest received the Allied Arts Foundation 2020 Professional Poets Award, a 2020 Vadon Foundation Fellowship, and residency fellowships from Hawthornden Castle, Hedgebrook, and Mineral School. Priest’s work can be found in Poetry Northwest, Pontoon Poetry, Verse Daily, Poem-a-Day at http://Poets.org, and elsewhere. She has taught Comparative Cultural Studies and Contemporary American Issues at Western Washington University and Native American Literature at Northwest Indian College. Priest holds a BA in English from Western Washington University and an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in Bellingham.
The public reading will be from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Methow Arts office on Glover Street. Due to the sharp surge in COVID-19 cases in Okanogan County, attendees must be fully vaccinated to attend. Masks will be required. Attendees will be required to pre-register. Email email@example.com for more information, or call 997-4004.